AT&T Wireless is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. AT&T Wireless broke off from AT&T in 2000 and offers cellular and data services to 118.7 mobile customers in the United States. This is significant number of customers making it the second largest wireless communications provider in the country after Verizon. AT&T Wireless is headquartered just outside of Atlanta. AT&T Wireless was formerly known as Cingular Wireless. In 2011, AT&T tried to acquire T-Mobile. However, AT&T withdrew from the merger offer in December 2011 in face of governmental and widespread consumer opposition.
- Great prices
- No contract options
- Hotspots available
Compared to other big-name cell phone providers, AT&T has some of the best prices and data plans for cell phone services. AT&T offers a barebones phone plan to customers starting at just $25 a month. This is a great non-contract option for customers who want a basic phone plan with no data connection. This is also a great product because customers can get unlimited text and voice at a price that undercuts both contract and non-contract competitors. (Note that this is not a contract phone).
Since AT&T offers both non-contract and contract cell phone services, they try to keep their customers as informed about what services in each bundle. They make it clear as to what the difference between the contract and non-contract phone services include. Customers particularly appreciate the clarity behind phone plans and services. Many phone users complained that other companies did not allow them to change their phone plan with an outdated phone. AT&T provides SIM cards for the older iPhone 4, while also providing the latest iPhone 5 and iPhone 6. With these SIM cards, phone users can continue to use their phone for a little bit while longer if they don't have the money to purchase a new phone. In addition to Windows phones and Android phones, users can also get a phone with the Amazon Fire operating system, helping them enjoy their eBooks and apps purchased through Amazon. AT&T was one of the few companies that had the Fire operating system available for customers.
Additionally, AT&T also sells other devices that can be managed with the cellular plan. Some of these products include: tablets, cellular modems and routers for computers, and even digital TV services. AT&T has tablets available that support Windows 8, Apple iOS, Android, and the Fire OS from Amazon. In fact, AT&T was one of the only companies that had the Amazon Kindle Fire available for customers to purchase.
Another thing current customers like about AT&T was the number of mobile hotspots that they had available. AT&T offered several different mobile hotspots, including the AT&T Unite Pro. This device has up to sixteen hours of power and lets you also boost the battery of your smartphone. The Unite Pro also lets clients share an Internet connection with up to fifteen devices.
- Concerns with third-party vendors
- Mobility administrative fee
- Other fees and issues with services
There have been some serious concerns regarding the third-party vendor problem that got AT&T into trouble with the FTC. AT&T allowed third-party vendors to use a premium SMS texting option to let horoscopes, sports trivia apps, and other services text clients and charge them $9.99/month for the messages that were associated with these premium texting products, without the customer's consent.
There was another controversy when AT&T started charging a "mobility administrative fee" in May 2013. This is a 61-cent fee that was added to its wireless postpaid lines and other services. AT&T gets almost a half-billion dollars from this fee every year. Many clients who called to terminate their service were told that this was a local or state tax. Many AT&T customers dropped their contracts by bringing up a notice of dispute.
Other concerns stem from the contract service and the overage fees. While the pay-as-you go plans are subject to data throttling, there is a service fee of $15 per GB that a client goes over their monthly data quota. The data throttling policy also brought up some issues with some customers. Some customers who have purchased the unlimited data policy have successfully sued AT&T Mobility for the data throttling policy. Some customers have complained about the slowness of the network when they start using a lot of data on their monthly-unlimited plan.